The Touques

As I'm unfamiliar with Reno, Nevada's music scene, I'm going to dub the Touques (MySpace) the best indie band to hail from the desert city. (They also get the nomination for best band named after a hat, but that's another story.)

In all fairness, though, the Touques are quite an interesting and fun band. Their debut album, Mustard Pickle Gun (no, it's really called that and I wish I had a clue as to what the hell it means, too), is this off-kilter hybrid of contemplative and meticulous rock akin to Modest Mouse, totally out there experimental pop outfits like Man Man (or, better yet, the founders of the genre, the Bonzo Dog Doh-Dah Band), and grittier, surlier bar bands, perhaps Ian Drury & the Blockheads. While I must admit that, in the end, the Touques don't amount to the sum of the whole of the above stated groups, they prove themselves just as unique and exiting as any one of them on their own.

Every one of the sixteen [obliquely titled] tracks on Mustard Pick Gun will leave you guessing, but the underlying continuity and merits that the band holds -- solid vocalist who reminds me of Roddy Frame from Aztec Camera mixed with Shaun Ryder of Happy Mondays fame, exuberant, nimble guitar playing that squeezes more melodic noodles and hooks into one single song than is normally possible, a funky, singing vibe and energy that carries all the tunes along swiftly -- will make you keep the record on rather than eject it in confusion. Here's some info on how to pick up your own copy of the album. Enjoy three sample tracks!

the Touques - Diggers of Sand

the Touques - Lunatique

the Touques - We're On An Island